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Italy's Carro Armato M11/39 medium tank

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Carro Armato M11/39 medium tank:
Italy's Carro Armato M11/39 medium tank

Carro Armato M11/39 medium tank:
Italy's Carro Armato M11/39 medium tank
Carro Armato M11/39 medium tank:
Italy's Carro Armato M11/39 medium tank
Carro Armato M11/39 medium tank:
Italy's Carro Armato M11/39 medium tank

Carro Armato M11/39 medium tank:
Italy's Carro Armato M11/39 medium tank

Design

A Carro di Rottura (breakthrough tank) was to be developed.5

Fiat-Ansaldo built it as a Carro di Rottura.6 It was developed as the 8 T in 1932 but was changed to M 11-39 in 1937.6

In 1937 prototype was built.5 The Regio Esercito (Royal Italian Army) placed an order for 100 of them in 1938.6 Production was nine per month.6

Started with 6 road wheels and was similar to American M3 Lee except had 37 mm in sponson.3 Eventually had 8 road wheels. Initially had an RF 1 CA radio, but production models had no radio5.6

Main Armament

Had 2 Breda 8 mm machine guns in the turret and a 37 mm mounted on the right side of the hull.5,6,7 The driver was on the left side.5

The 37 mm gun had a telescopic sight.6 The two 8 mm Breda machine guns were in a cast gimbal mount with a telescopic sight and room mounted periscope.6

Fighting Compartment

On each side of the hull superstructure were oval pistol ports.6 There were two ports in the right rear superstructure.6

Entrances were in the turret room, above the main gun, and a door in the left side.6

The armor was bolt-on plating.6 Riveted construction.4,7

Air intakes were at the rear in the superstructure and the turret.6

Crew

The driver was located on the left towards the front of the M11/39.3 The commander was the only one in the turret which was located in the center of the M11/39.3

Engine

The engine was in the rear with the drive going to the front sprockets.5,6 The adjustable idler was in the rear.6

There were two radiator gills at the rear of the engine compartment.6

Suspension

The suspension had two four-wheel bogies mounted in pairs on a semi-elliptic leaf spring.5

It had four double wheeled articulated bogies that were paired into two bogie assemblies.6 They were carried on semi-elliptical leaf springs.6

Two spare bogie wheels were fitted on the rear hull, with the jack on the front left fender.6

First Tests

A company in the 32nd Tank Regiment of the Ariete (Ram) Armored Division received the first batch to test in August 1939.6

Prototype

The prototype for the M11/39 was built in 1937.3 It used the same suspension as the L3 but it had six road wheels per side.3

Production

  • M11/39: 1003,7
    • Production: 1937 - 19403

Usage

Was intended to be main tank of armored divisions. Each battalion would have 31 tanks.

These eventually equipped two battalions of the Ariete (Ram) Armored Division.6

In Africa

24 were sent to Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Italian Somaliland.6

703 / 726 were sent to Africa and joined the 4th Tank Regiment. First action Sidi Azeis, August 5, 1940.5

Five were captured by the 6th Australian Division and used against the Italians at Tobruk in January 1941.

Specifications

  M11/39
Crew Commander/turret gunner, 37 mm gunner, driver6
31,2,4,5,6,7
Physical Characteristics  
Weight 24,250.4 lb6, 24,640 lb
10.8 tons4,7, 10.83 tons, 11 tons1,2, 12.1 ton6
11,000 kg4,6,7, 11,175 kg1
Length 15.5'2, 15' 6"1,5, 15' 6.5"4,7, 15' 10.9"6
4.7 m , 4.73 m1, 4.74 m4,7, 4.85 m6
Height 6' 11.1"6, 7.33'2, 7' 6.5"4,7, 7' 7"1,5
2.11 m6, 2.3 m1,4,7
Width 7.08'2, 7' 1.8"6, 7' 2"1,5, 7' 3"4,7
2.18 m1,6, 2.2 m, 2.21 m4,7
Width over tracks  
Ground clearance  
Ground contact length  
Ground pressure  
Turret ring diameter  
Armament  
Main - hull 1: 37 mm1,2,3
1: 37 mm Vickers-Terni L/404,6,7
Secondary  
MG - turret 2: 8 mm MG1,3
2: 8 mm Breda Model 38 MG4,6
2: 8 mm / 0.315" Breda Model 38 MG7
2: MG2
Side arms  
Quantity  
Main 846
Secondary  
MG 2,8086
Side arms  
Armor Thickness (mm) 6 - 301,2, 7 - 306, 304,7
Hull Front, Upper 30
Hull Front, Lower 14
Hull Sides, Upper 14
Hull Sides, Lower 14
Hull Rear 14
Hull Top 8
Hull Bottom 8
Turret Front 30
Turret Sides 30
Turret Rear 14
Turret Top 7
Engine (Make / Model) Fiat SPA 8T1,4,6,7
Spa 8T5
Bore / stroke  
Cooling Water6
Cylinders 81, V-82,4,5,6,7
Capacity  
Net HP 1051,2,4,5,7, 1256
Power to weight ratio  
Compression ratio  
Transmission (Type)  
Steering  
Steering ratio  
Starter  
Electrical system  
Ignition  
Fuel (Type) Diesel1,2,4,5,6,7
Octane  
Quantity Main tank: 38.3 gallons6, 145 liters6
Reserve tank: 9.2 gallons6, 35 liters6
Road consumption  
Cross country consumption  
Performance  
Traverse 360°, hydraulic6
37 mm: 15° each way6
Speed - Road 19.9 mph6, 20 mph4,5,7, 20.7 mph1, 21 mph2
32 kph4,6,7, 32.2 kph, 33.3 kph1
Speed - Cross Country 9.3 mph
Range - Road 124 miles1,4,7, 125 miles5, 130 miles6
200 km1,4,7, 210 km6
Range - Cross Country  
Turning radius  
Elevation limits 37 mm: +12° to -12°6, -8°
Fording depth 3' 3"
Trench crossing 6' 6"
Vertical obstacle 2' 7.5"
Climbing ability  
Suspension (Type) Two 4 wheel bogies, semi-elliptic leaf spring5
Four double wheeled articulated bogies that were paired into two bogie assemblies.6
Sprung bogie4,7
Wheels each side 63, 86
Return rollers each side 36
Tracks (Type)  
Length  
Width  
Diameter  
Number of links  
Pitch  
Tire tread  
Track centers/tread  

Sources:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles - The Comprehensive Guide to Over 900 Armored Fighting Vehicles From 1915 to the Present Day, General Editor: Christopher F. Foss, 2002
  2. Tanks of the World, 1915-1945, Peter Chamberlain, Chris Ellis, 1972
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. The Illustrated Guide to Tanks of the World, George Forty, 2006
  5. Tanks of World War II, Duncan Crow, 1979
  6. Italian Medium Tanks in Action, Nicola Pignato, 2001
  7. World War I and II Tanks, George Forty, 2012
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site

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